Chapter 35 Gathered Unto Shiloh

The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto Him shall the gathering of the people be (Genesis 49:10).

These are the words of the dying Jacob. In dying, he seemed to have reached a spiritual maturity of no common measure. His life had been tempestuous, but the grace of God had at last brought forth the peaceable fruit of righteousness. The good news had come to him that Joseph was alive. If we think of Joseph as a type of the Lord Jesus, then we see that every good is secured in Christ risen. Israel was not now in the inheritance of God. They were in the land of Goshen in Egypt among the heathen; but because of Joseph they were blessed there before returning to the Lord’s inheritance.

In the previous chapters we see that Jacob had lost his much-loved Rachel, whom he buried in Bethlehem (35:19). Our Lord was born in Bethlehem. The natural has to go out if Christ is to become All in all to our souls. Saul, on being anointed king of Israel, was sent first by Samuel to Rachel’s tomb. This, no doubt, was to teach him that only when all that is attractive to nature is buried out of sight can there be a kingdom of God on earth—a lesson Saul never learned.

We see Jacob’s powers of discernment in the blessing of his sons. The corruption of Reuben, and the inordinate violence of Simeon and Levi, caused Jacob to rise indignant over their cruelties. This exposure of the natural man makes way for the blessing which is to come through Judah.

The Promise of Shiloh

The Lord appears under many names and titles in Scripture. Shiloh is one brilliant diadem of them. All that the promised Redeemer is to be, filled Jacob’s dying eye. Shiloh means “The Sent One.” And when we ask by whom was He sent, there is a plenitude of answers. “God sent His only begotten Son into the world… He… sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins… The Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world” (1 John 4:9, 10, 14). The Father’s Shiloh is the Father’s Son. “When the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son” (Galatians 4:4). In giving His Son, God gave everything He could give. God’s love can only be measured by the value of His gift.

He was to come of Judah’s line. Judah means praise. He must come in this line of sovereignty. Judah is to be the royal tribe and Shiloh the One who shall ultimately have the kingdom. It is reserved for Him, as the name also indicates. It is all very clear to Jacob’s anointed eye. He sees the ultimate millennial reign of God’s promised Redeemer. But before that the scepter is handed to Him when He shall be crowned with glory and honor as the Prince of peace—which name is also inherent in Shiloh—the scepter was to be temporarily taken from Israel, that is, the right to rule their own lives.

The lawgiver is brought into the text because Shiloh must exhibit a perfect obedience to the law. Without becoming the offspring of one of Judah’s daughters after the flesh, and without a spotless life in the flesh, there could be no expiating blood, no justifying righteousness, no kindred relationship, no way for man to be gathered unto God.

During our Lord’s time on earth the Jews had no king, and confessed they had “no king but Caesar” (John 19:15). Rome ruled Palestine. Had it not been so, our Lord would have died the Jewish death of stoning. But Moses, speaking prophetically of Him, said, “Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree,” and David spoke of Him when he said, “They pierced My hands and My feet” (Galatians 3:13 for Deuteronomy 21:23; Psalm 22:16).

This is remarkable indeed! Crucifixion was the death of an outcast Gentile—a Roman form of death. When the Jews cried out “Crucify Him!” they meant, Let Him die the most accursed of all deaths—outcast of Jewry and outcast of the Gentiles. What hatred of Him in Jewry! What malice toward Him in the heart of the Gentile!

The Ultimate Vindication

The fruit of His passion for Israel will be seen at the close of “the church age” when “all Israel shall be saved” and gathered to Him (Romans 11:26). “There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.”

But, previous to that, there is a gathering of Abraham’s spiritual seed as the fruit of that passion—a people saved by grace, who confess that “He also has become our salvation” and “saved us with an holy calling.”

The gathering of this spiritual seed was also in Jacob’s mind when he said, “Unto Him shall the gathering of the people be.” We are gathered, not to some man, no matter how eloquent; nor to some sect, no matter what their man-devised creeds; nor to any form of teaching, no matter how fundamental; but primarily gathered unto the Lord, to worship before Him, to love and adore Him, to praise and give thanks unto Him, and pledge and devote our lives unto Him.

Gathered in Thy Name, Lord Jesus,
Losing sight of all but Thee,
Oh, what joy Thy presence gives us,
Calling up our hearts to Thee!

Loved with love which knows no measure,
Save the Father’s love to Thee,
Blessed Lord, our hearts would treasure
All the Father’s thoughts of Thee.

How He set His love upon Thee,
Called Thee His beloved Son;
Yet for us He did not spare Thee,
By Thy death our life was won.

Miss C. A. Wellesley